How I Design a Brand and Website in One Day
I have a lot of big ideas. And they all share one thing in common: they start out way too complicated.
I thought it was just me. Until I started meeting more and more solo business owners. And I realized we are all full of big ideas that start out way too complicated.
When I first started building brands and websites, typical turnaround time was 6 to 12 months. A lot of that time depended on the client providing me what I needed to do the work. And the amount of HTML coding necessary to build the site.
Then I started putting templates and support for the client into the process. WordPress came into existence. And I got that turnaround down to 3 to 6 months.
After I started my own business, I changed the way I used technology to support my work with clients. I got the turnaround time down to 1 to 3 months.
And this past year, I got it down to 3 weeks. You'd think I would stop there, but I didn't. I refined my process even more to simplify and streamline it, yet still offer full support for my client. The best part? This process delivers a brand and website in one business day.
Here's how I do it.
Step One: Clarity
When a client books their Elevate project date, they receive a guide to get them started. They usually have about a week or two before their project date. This gives them plenty of time to complete the pre-work.
The guide includes basic information for setting up all of their accounts, as well as a questionnaire that helps them gain clarity around their business, goals and clients. This saves us lots of project work time.
The last step is for them to create a visual inspiration Pinterest board. This helps me know what grabs their eye when it comes to design.
Things I ask them not to pin to this board are website, logos, color palettes or graphic elements. I find that these things get stuck in the mind. And it interferes with bringing their own personality and vision into the work.
Step Two: Design
I like to start with the brand work because it helps the client see their personality coming through. This boosts their confidence and clarity for the content writing and website build.
First, I'll create a black and white logo design. Then I design a color palette for them that reflects the emotional mood they want for visitors. I'll also select specific images from their Pinterest board to share as what inspired me in the work. I also write a short description of how the design embodies their work and business.
Once we've reviewed and tweaked these elements, and added color to the logo, we move to the next step.
Step Three: Content
This is everyone's least favorite part of the process (including my own!). So it comes with loads of support from myself and a highly-skilled publishing veteran.
Our small group of three (me, client, editor) start with a kickoff meeting where we plan out the site structure. From here, I provide a template to help the client plan and write their content. I also encourage them to revisit their pre-work. I created the clarity questions in the guide to support this content writing phase.
They also have a publishing editor an email or call away if they get stuck. She's there to help them craft focused and specific content. And keep the grammar and spelling errors at bay.
This helps make the entire content writing experience quick, effective and efficient. And keeps our one-day timeline in check!
Step Four: Website
While the client and editor are working on content, I'm building the website. At this point, I am creating all the graphic elements and images we'll need on the site.
I am also coding in the style selections and any custom touches I want to add to make it unique to my client. I only build on the SquareSpace platform now, which uses templates like WordPress. This means I have less technical setup at first and can use that time to add special touches for my client.
Once I get the content, I'll add that to the site and finish out the page designs. Sometimes I'll tweak the style decisions along the way to help the content stand out.
My last step is to finish the technical setup. This involves connecting the client's domain, social accounts and email. As well as testing all the links, forms and buttons to make sure they are working.
Step Five: Launch
With the website finished, we are ready to launch. I'll have one last call with my client to make sure there are no final revisions. And I'll give them training on how to make updates and changes to their site.
I also explain my 15-day revisions policy and process for any changes they want to make, and the 24/7 support they have available from SquareSpace.
If you’re ready to get started with your own brand + website, download a step-by-step guide of my process here.